OKEECHOBEE, Fla. — Law enforcement authorities have apprehended a 19-year-old man from Okeechobee, Florida, after uncovering his plans for a shooting spree at Okeechobee High School and targeted attacks on other regions of South Florida. The individual, identified as Henry Joseph Horton IV, was pulled over by police in Jupiter on September 18 at approximately 9:27 p.m. due to a malfunctioning headlight on his truck.
During the traffic stop, an officer discovered written pages inside Horton’s vehicle outlining a detailed plan to purchase firearms and “kill everyone at OHS (Okeechobee High School) with my guns.” According to a probable cause affidavit from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Horton specifically expressed his intent to kill an administrator at the school, along with 14 other individuals, resulting in a total of 15 victims.
It was revealed that Horton had graduated from Okeechobee High School in May 2022. Disturbingly, the affidavit disclosed that he intended to execute his attack on his 22nd birthday, which falls on January 2, 2026. Additionally, investigators uncovered plans for Horton to drive to Miami and carry out a “stabbing spree” at a church named “El Rey Jesus,” targeting and killing an additional 10 people. He aimed to carry out these attacks by acquiring a M1911 handgun and an AK-47.
Further investigation revealed that Horton had also conducted reconnaissance work on Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, noting his visit to the school on a regular school day and observing a large number of individuals outside, which he found intriguing. When questioned about his motives for attacking the school, Horton stated that it was for attention or fame.
Upon his arrest, Horton was taken to JFK North Hospital under the state’s Baker Act to undergo a mental health evaluation before being formally charged. WPTV reporter Joel Lopez spoke with Horton’s parents, who fervently defended their son, asserting that he was not dangerous and had been grappling with mental health issues. Horton’s mother, Marcie Horton, emphasized the importance of providing him with appropriate mental health treatment rather than treating him solely as a criminal.
In his conversation with WPTV, Horton’s father, Henry Horton III, who resides in Virginia, expressed his love and concern for his son, vowing to do everything in his power to support him. He revealed that his son had previously written a similar threatening letter and had confessed to experiencing uncontrollable thoughts. Horton III mentioned that his son had voluntarily sought treatment at a mental institution and had later been sent to Okeechobee County to continue his therapy under the care of his mother.
Henry Joseph Horton IV was subsequently taken into custody on Thursday and is currently being held at the main Palm Beach County jail on a bond of $1 million. He is facing a charge of written threats to kill or do harm. Horton’s next court appearance is scheduled for November 6 at 10:30 a.m., where he will face legal proceedings related to the charges against him.